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February 1960

Symposium on Morals, Medicine and the Law, Vol. 31, No. 7.

AMA Arch Intern Med. 1960;105(2):342. doi:10.1001/archinte.1960.00270140164022

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The November, 1956, issue of the New York University Law Review contained a remarkable symposium on Morals, Medicine, and the Law. This was organized around Dr. Joseph Fletcher's provocative book entitled, "Morals and Medicine," in which Dr. Fletcher, a priest of the Anglican Church, considered the ethical problems raised by euthanasia, sterilization, artificial insemination, contraception, and the patient's right to know the truth. These controversial issues and their head-on confrontation by Dr. Fletcher formed the basis of this symposium. Two lawyers, two philosophers, two theologians, and a physician gave their answers to each of the problems under discussion. It was the consensus that the patient has a right to know the medical facts about himself if he wants to or remain ignorant of them if he so prefers. Differences on contraception followed the usual line of cleavage between Roman Catholics on the one hand and Protestants, Jews, and agnostics on

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